The text and paintings on The Trowbridge Chronicles are taken from the illustrated journal of Violet Trowbridge, a shrew that once lived in a village deep in the Olympic Rain Forest. Each new post will represent a portion of Mrs. Trowbridge’s journal.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Imperial Castle Prison Guard Sketch

From time to time I will select a charcoal layout from Mrs. Trowbridge's journal that reflects the excellence of her work. This is her preliminary sketch depicting one of the castle guards for the upcoming episode that is set in the castle dungeon. Click here if you would like to know how Mrs. T made her charcoal sticks. It was a very interesting process. 

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Saturday, December 21, 2013


In our last episode, Keno had been in conference with Emperor Nang to seek his counsel regarding the enemy invasion of Giloh, when he was suddenly seized by guards and thrown into the castle dungeon. Will Keno's spirit be broken? Our story continues...

Have you seen my other blog? Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy. Check it out.

Monday, December 02, 2013


 Keno has arrived at the Emperor's Palace, and has been ushered into the emperor's war room to discuss with the emperor the siege upon the desert outpost at Giloh. Our story continues...

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Monday, November 25, 2013


As our story continues, Keno has been granted an audience with Emperor Nang in the Royal Palace. Keno informs the emperor of the enemy attack in the shadow on night at the outpost at Giloh. The emperor and Keno retreat to the war room as their discussion continues...

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Thursday, November 14, 2013


Keno has now entered the emperor's court. He is requesting military assistance from Emperor Nang for the battle that is raging at the desert outpost at Giloh. Our story resumes: 

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Sunday, November 03, 2013


Concealing his secret mission, Keno slips through the streets of the Imperial City of Shomu, until he arrives at the palace. Once inside the palace grounds, Keno makes his way to the emperor's chamber, flanked by heavily armed guards. Our story continues...

Have you seen my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy

My next Painting in Paradise workshop in Rarotonga (South Pacific) begins on March 30, 2014. Details here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Keno has arrived safely at the Imperial City of Shomu to request military assistance from Emperor Nang. Meanwhile, back at Giloh...

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Saturday, October 19, 2013


As our story continues, Keno has arrived at the gate at the Imperial City of Shomu. He has come to request military assistance from Emperor Nang. Will he become entangled in a web of deceit before he reaches the palace?

Have you seen my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy? Click here to check out my new children's book, Monster Safari.

Monday, October 07, 2013


Keno has finally reached the massive front door of Shomu Castle. He is here to see Emperor Nang to request assistance at the embattled fortress at Giloh. Breathless from his long run, he feels like he is being held underwater by an enemy soldier. His heart is pounding. Our story continues...

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Monday, September 30, 2013


After a skirmish with a Phantom Mongol warrior, Keno resumes his mission to seek help from Emperor Nang at the Imperial Palace in Shomu...the hushed onomatopeia of desert sounds is broken by the puffs and pants of Keno as he dashes toward Shomu. Our story resumes...

Have you seen my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy? There you'll find my new children's book, Monster Safari. Check it our here.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


As our story resumes, Keno has been charged with the mission of seeking help from Emperor Nang in the Imperial City of Shomu. The embattled desert fortress of Giloh is besieged by the Phantom Mongol and his army. Keno has emerged from the secret passageway to encounter one of the Phantom Mongol's warriors...

Check out my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy

My new Facebook page features my daily comic panel, Health Capsules... an interesting "capsule" related to health everyday. It's seen in newspapers around the world.

Monday, September 16, 2013


 On ancient Trowbridge totems there were carved images of Shrew Kahn, one of the mightiest warriors in Trowbridge history. This is one the great legendary stories of Shrew Khan:

 Keno has received orders from Shrew Kahn to attempt to reach Emporer Nang in the provincial capital of Shomu, to request troops to help Shrew Kahn and his soldiers defend the outpost at Giloh. Keno emerges from the secret passage. Our story continues...

Saturday, September 07, 2013


Keno has used the secret passageway to escape the Giloh fortess. He will seek help from Enperor Nang. What will Keno find when he immerges? Our story continues...

Sunday, September 01, 2013


In her lush painting style, Mrs. Trowbridge illustrates one of the legendary stories of Trowbridge shrew folklore, the legend of Shrew Kahn. She meticulously hand-scribed every episode of the story. To catch up, you can scroll back to previous episodes. Our story resumes...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Shrew Kahn and his warriors had successfully defended the desert outpost at Giloh. Then, without warning, they were attacked in the darkness of night. Who would come to their rescue? Our story continues...

Sunday, August 11, 2013


The fresh smell of victory at Giloh is short-lived when a flaming arrow whizzes through the bars of the bunk room nest window. Our story continues...

Have you seen my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy. I have a new Facebook fan page too. This is where you will find the new expanded version of my Health Capsules daily comic panel: You'll find the online version at:

Sunday, August 04, 2013


Of all the desert outposts ravaged in the battle, only Giloh held fast. Shrew Kahn and his soldiers bury their dead and begin repairing the damaged pebble fortress. Then they celebrate with a victory feast. Giloh still stands. Our story continues...

Have you seen my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy?

Monday, July 29, 2013


Mrs. Trowbridge paid homage to her fore-bearers by writing and illustrating stories of those great Trowbridge shrews from which she descended. Among the greatest was the mighty warrior, Shrew Khan. Shews of the Trowbridge line have been traced to the Mongolian Steppes, the jungles of Polynesia and elsewhere before they found their way to the temperate rain forests of the Pacific Northwest region of North America. 

This is one of my favorite of Mrs. T's stories: The Legend of Shrew Khan.

Have you seen my other blog? There you'll see the development of my Sky Fishing painting. Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Recently, I posted Mrs. Trowbridge's sketch of Shrews, Mice and Moles. Above is the exquisitely soft watercolor that she painted from her sketch. Sometimes I liken Mrs.T to a busy little robot. Though she was constantly occupied with her family and community responsibilities, she always returned to her journal, where she scribed and painted her lovely pictures. She was faithful to her painting throughout her life. Mrs. T lived with her family on Wild Rose Creek, in the rain forest village of Huckleberry Hollow.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Mrs. Trowbridge occasionally wrote journal pages regarding the history behind the Trowbridge shrews that lived in the rain forest. She called these her "primer pages". Wars and protests would drive shrews from distant lands to flee their homes and take to the air in search of a better life across the Great Sea. These ancient shrews were called "Wind Riders". In the above page from her journal, Mrs. T talks about the wind journeys made by her ancestors in their tiny air basket huts.

Have you seen my other blog? It's called Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy

Friday, June 28, 2013


There was an underlying suspicion that was ever present in the small creatures community. There was a subconscious surveillance between the various species. The bottom line was that no one wanted to be eaten for lunch. That's why beetles kept their distance from shrews. They knew that they could be ambushed on the way into the village, never to be seen again.

But moles, mice and shrews all got along with one another because of their common mammalian ancestry. In the above page from Mrs. Trowbridge's journal, she describes the kinship between these three species, and illustrates her journal page with her marvelous charcoal sketches.

Have you seen my other blog? Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Some of Mrs. Trowbridge's journal entries were charcoal drawings. This week's episode is an example of her fine charcoal draughtsmanship. She describes the ladybug mushroom colonies that were a common site in the rain forest. The beautifully-worn paper that she used for her journal adds to the flavor of her exquisite charcoal drawings. 

Have you seen my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


Mrs. Trowbridge had sweet memories of her childhood in the rain forest. This page from her diary depicts a scene from her youth when she helped her father, working the sow-bug herds on their sow-bug farm. She painted this scene from memory.

Sow-bugs are a common part of the shrew diet which consists of insects, slugs, spiders, worms, and amphibians. Sow-bugs were easy to find in the rain forest under decaying logs, so they were a staple of the shrew diet. The enterprising shrew would go on sow-bug "hunts" to collect them, then build a sow-bug herd. The sow-bugs were then sold to local markets.

Have you seen my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy?

Monday, May 27, 2013


If you continue hiking Shi Shi Beach southward and pass beyond the Point of Arches, you will enter a new mystical almost unearthly realm. The above picture is of the first cove below Shi Shi Beach. As we plodded through the deep sand and navigated the ancient craggy black boulders, we could easily envision an unknown species of prehistoric monster suddenly appearing from behind a nearby sea stack.

We hiked at a greatly stepped up pace into the second cove beyond Point of Arches because we were feeling tension about the tide coming in and trapping us against a sea cliff. Fortunately, we found our way back to Shi Shi just as the  waves were beginning to break onto the rocks on the upper beach. If you are fortunate enough to be able to visit Shi Shi Beach, make time to explore the ancient sea coves below Point of Arches.

Have you seen my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy?

Monday, May 20, 2013


The huge cave in the above photo is a familiar and welcome site at Shi Shi's the sign that you've reached Point of Arches, the southern headland of Shi Shi Beach. Note the smooth light gray sand. It's the smoothest sand I've seen at a Pacific beach. What's even better is that there are no tire tracks in this sand like there are at so many other public Washington State beaches further to the south. You can reach Shi Shi beach only by way of a three-mile trail. Shi Shi is considered by many to be the most primitive beach on the West Coast of the U.S. When you see my next post, you'll see how primitive it looks in the coves to the south of Point of Arches. When you're here you feel like you've stepped into an ancient epoch.

The photos would have been more impressive were it not for the cloudy skies that day. A sunny day at Shi Shi is hard to beat. At least we didn't get any liquid sunshine on our trip to Point of Arches.

This view from the southern opening of the cave reveals that it's larger than it appears to be, and that it's more of a tunnel than a cave. Just to the right of the opening you will see my sister, Brenda Williamson. The image of my sister gives you a perspective of the size of the cave. How was it formed? The most obvious explanation would be wave action. If it was created by wave action, it would be a true demonstration of the power of breaking waves over eons of time.

You have to time your trips to Point of Arches. If you're some distance south of Point of Arches and you're trying to get back to Shi Shi and the tide is coming in, you could be in serious trouble. Some have been pinned by the waves against the rock cliffs and drowned.  Long beach hikes in this area require careful planning because of the tide.

Have you seen my other blog? Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy

Monday, May 13, 2013


Can you guess what the above image is? You normally wouldn't see these creatures in this form. They are even less recognizable because we were at the tide pools on a cloudy day. Both of these images are very monochromatic for that reason. 

These are sea anemones. The name "anemone" even made the "Most Beautiful Words in the English Language" list. Normally you see anemones as beautiful flower-like creatures in an underwater setting. The above images show the anemones as they appear in their shrunk-down state when the water has receded from the tidepool.

Because of the cloudy skies, the full array of color is absent in the above tide pool image, but if you look carefully you can see that the anemones are turquoise in color. I hope we have sunny skies for our future treks to Point of Arches.

Have you seen my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy?

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


As part of our trek to Shi Shi Beach, we spent the day exploring the tide pools at Point of Arches. It's well worth the 2.3 mile hike to the south end of Shi Shi Beach, especially on a warm, sunny day. Star fish at Point of Arches come in a variety of decorator colors...a tribute to the endless variety of nature.

Mussels grow by the millions at Point of Arches. There were areas, like the photo above, that were a virtual carpet of mussels.

Have you seen my other blog,  Flights of Fantasy?

Saturday, April 27, 2013


It was a blustery day on the North Pacific Coast as we began the 2.3 mile trek down to Point of Arches. We were camped on the far north end of the long crescent-shaped beach. The glistening sand was so smooth, we seemed to be hiking on soft pavement. 

 At Point of Arches, we spent the rest of the day exploring tide-pools  Point of Arches is a wonderland of colorful tide-pools. Standing is Ross Hamilton, a renowned Northwest nature photographer.  My sister, Brenda Williamson, photographs a sea star in the tide pool. It was hard to say farewell to Shi Shi as we hiked back to civilization the next morning. 

Check back soon for more words and pictures of Shi Shi Beach.

Have you seen my other blog? It's called Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Every summer I look forward to treks into the Olympic Rain Forest wilderness where Mrs. Trowbridge once lived. My last trip was to Shi Shi Beach, on the Pacific Coast in Washington State, a stretch of coastline considered to be the most rugged and untamed on the West Coast.

The above view from atop the 150-foot high bluff overlooking the beach offers the first glimpse of this fantastical realm. There are more sea stacks here than anywhere on the West Coast

As we hiked southward along the 2.3-mile long crescent shaped beach toward Point of Arches, I kept an eye out for a patch of forest just off the beach where I could begin sketching, and writing the words you are now reading. I found the perfect spot that you see above. It was almost as if a little patch of pristine forest had been prepared for me. I'm writing this in longhand while sitting on the log in the foreground. The grass in front of me looks almost like the domesticated grass in my back yard. The large-leaf plants growing from the grass are Devil's Club (Oplopanax horridus). The steep high bank begins abruptly, where you see the sword ferns (polystichum munitum) growing. The entire hillside above is an enormous sword fern garden.

There was a purpose for our trek to Shi Shi. I have suspected that Mrs. T and her family visited Shi Shi on their summer treks to the shore over 200 years ago. I have seen a number of her sketches that resemble the features of Shi Shi Beach so I wanted to see the beach for myself to confirm my belief that she was here many years ago.

Shi Shi Beach is not just another beach. One visit is all it takes to realize that this is a very special place. As part of the Olympic National Park, Shi Shi Beach is an Unesco World Heritage Site. The Travel Channel named it the "best nature beach". And it was declard one of the Top Five Wilderness Beaches in the World.

Next episode: Point of Arches at Shi Shi Beach

Have you seen my other blog? It's called Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy

Saturday, March 23, 2013


This page from Mrs. Trowbridge's journal takes me back to those summer days in the high meadows of the Olympic Mountains, where Mrs. Trowbridge once lived. It brings back memories of a summer skinny-dip swim in Sundown Lake with our son, Brad. Or strolling through the high meadows among the lupine flowers swaying in the summer breeze, while rare endemic butterflies fluttered around us. This page makes me long for summer. It doesn't come to the high meadows until mid or late summer.

You may recall from a previous episode that Madam Lucy opened a tattoo parlor so that ladybugs could get their shells tattooed. Now she's tattooing butterfly wings...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


The day before yesterday was a momentous occasion in the Smith household. It was the day that my wife, Jacquie, and I, along with Jacquie's parents, visited our first grandchild. Ellie was born  last Saturday. There were four generations together in the hospital room last Sunday. Jacquie's folks are Ellie's great grandparents.

So it is most appropriate that the current episode from Mrs. Trowbridge's journal involves her experience as a first time grandparent, just as Jacquie and I are now. Thankfully, our daughter-in-law, Carlee, didn't have sextuplets as Mrs.T's daughter did. Congratulations to Brad and Carlee!

Saturday, February 09, 2013


There were times in Mrs. Trowbridge's life when she and her family were hit by one emotional storm after another. One of their family's greatest challenges was the death of their son, Nils' best friend, Skylar. Mrs. T recalls the family's time of grief in her journal entry below. Her seashore painting recalling their times on the beach with Skylar and his family is one of my favorites of all her paintings. It seems that the emotion she was feeling at the time shone through in the glow of Pacific sunset.

Have you seen my other blog? It's called Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy

Monday, January 21, 2013


For those of you who are new to this blog, Violet Trowbridge was a Trowbridge shrew who lived about two centuries ago in the Quinault Rain Forest in Washington State, USA. As a young shrew, her mother taught her the art of calligraphy and watercolor. Using her pen and brush, she recorded life as she saw it through most of her life in the village of Huckleberry Hollow. 

A number of years ago, while hiking up Wild Rose Creek in the Quinault Rain Forest, I found a tiny gold box on a mossy ledge that contained a toad-skin leather cover book, which was titled The Trowbridge Chronicles. I had found a myth-shrouded treasure, which today provides us with a glimpse of life long ago among the small creatures in the rain forest. These journal pages are her story, in her own hand-scribed words. 

Today's story: Woodrow, Violet's husband has taken up rock climbing and has brought his new rock climbing equipment along on their family summer outing in the high meadows. Mrs. Trowbridge has deftly sketched her handsome husband as he enjoys the view from atop a towering five-foot boulder.

Mrs. Trowbridge captures Woodrow in charcoal as he rappels down a boulder. I have spent many days and nights in the high meadows of the Olympic wilderness. I have, in fact, made a number of treks into Wild Rose Creek, where Mrs. T lived with her family. My times in the Olympic Mountains have been among the most special and memorable times of my life. 

Have you seen my other art blog? It's called Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I photographed these Monkey flowers (Mimulus tilingi) growing alongside a stream in the beautiful Grand Valley, one of my favorite meadows in the high Olympic Mountains. Monkey flowers are a common sight in sub-alpine meadows, dancing merrily in the summer breeze beside a rushing stream.

Mrs. Trowbridge and her family spent many memorable days on summer outings. Sometimes they would go to the nearby Pacific Ocean. Other times they would hike to the high meadows. She referred often to their "special boulder", a boulder that served as their destination when they followed Wild Rose Creek up to the high meadows. She painted this picture of her husband, Woodrow, napping on the boulder among the Monkey flowers, while the children play nearby. I hope her painting brings thoughts of days in the coming summer season when you too will be sunning beside a stream in your special place.

Have you seen my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy. Check it out.

Monday, January 07, 2013


Mrs. Trowbridge returns to show us her portrait skills. I admire her because she always lived her life on the edge. She was given to experimenting with new directions to expand her skills. I have always aspired to follow her shining example of the well-lived life.

She devoted many pages in her journal to painting her ladybug friends with tattooed shells. Her portrait of Mrs. Shellwick is one of my favorites.

Mrs. Fernwick, the subject of the above shrew portrait, was one of Mrs. T's best friends. She, too, was an artist. She and Mrs. Trowbridge spent many happy summer days together sketching along Wild Rose Creek and in the high meadows. The rose in Mrs. T's portrait is a Nootka rose (rosa Nutkana). They are a common site in the Quinault Rain Forest.

Have you seen my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy? There you'll find many sample pages from my upcoming childrens' book, Monster Safari.